Don't Do a David

 23 Apr 2014

With the recent parting of the ways between Manchester United and David Moyes, it got me to thinking. Did David really consider the offer at hand or was he simply swept away by Alex Ferguson and the job offered to him?
There are a number of factors to consider when accepting a new position and I wonder if David ever thought to himself, “do you know what, this is not for me”. I doubt he did, and why should he, the most coveted role in football?
But how did David know it was the right role and environment for him. Did he weigh up the pros and cons of the role like you or I would do? Let’s consider some factors when deciding to accept a new job.
Before we do so, a word from the man himself on being offered the role as manager of Manchester United.
 “It's a great honour to be asked to be the next manager of Manchester United. I am delighted that Sir Alex saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done and for the football club."
The People
With the package being offered by Manchester United I am sure David’s main consideration was not the money—so what is it, the opportunity - certainly, but what makes the opportunity - it’s the people. Your boss, your team, and the co-workers that will surround you every day are crucial for your happiness and success at a job. It’s extremely hard to judge people after only meeting them briefly, but think about how you were treated as part of the interview process. Were they friendly? Did they ask you personal questions as well as professional ones? Did they keep you in the loop and feedback to you in a timely manner?
The answers to these questions may reflect how your co-workers and superiors will treat you as an employee. Is someone who’s ready to hire you after 15 minutes really considering how well you’ll fit into the team? Did you get to meet all of the key parties and discuss the pros and cons of the role/company? The answer is probably not.
A word from David on his interview process.
"It was a strange situation. I had no idea whatsoever until Sir Alex gave me a call and asked me to come to his house. I was expecting him to say, 'I'm going to take one of your players' or something else. I went in and the first thing he said to me was, 'I'm retiring'. I said, 'When?' because he was never retiring, and he said, 'Next week!' His next words were, 'You're the next Manchester United manager'. I didn't get the chance to say yes or no. As you can imagine, the blood drained from my face. I was shocked, more shocked that Sir Alex had chosen to retire. But inside I was incredibly thrilled that I was going to be given the chance to manage Manchester United”
The Environment
What is the environment you are moving into really like? Is it very different from the one you are in? This is a very important point to consider. Take Everton and Manchester United, they do the same thing, but are very very, very different environments, and it’s important to decide which you’d thrive in. If you’re more of an individual who likes structure and competition, then “the corporate path” may be for you. However if you want a fast-paced, hands on environment that’s new every day, then a more nimble organisation may be the answer. I have recently heard Everton and Manchester United described as going from steering a yacht to steering a cruise liner. So fully consider what’s involved in steering a cruise liner before “jumping ship “.
The physical location of the environment is also an important to consideration. A long or difficult commute with little in the way of amenities may impact on your everyday attitude. Nothing is worse than going to a miserable work environment every morning—and even worse, taking that unhappiness home with you, too.
A comment from Rene Meulensteen, former first team coach at Manchester United.
'Maybe in hindsight David probably underestimated the magnitude of the position,' Meulensteen told CNN. 'I tried to explain to David that it would be like going from steering a yacht to a cruise liner

A lot of companies are able to impress with past success or current profits, but take some time to do research on the company’s recent success and hiring activities and ask about future recruitment plans. Is the job you are being offered a new role due to success and expansion or are you filling the hole of someone moving on. If it’s the latter, ask why. Undertake research into the company, has it been operating steadily during recent turbulent times? If so, you’re likely looking at a pretty stable job. If not, be careful, you could be walking into a difficult environment and a job that could be gone within a year.
David from last July
"Isn't it great that the club says, 'There's no budget here, you go get who you want to get, just go and do it'. We are looking at the best players. I do think it's important that we show people we are carrying on the traditions and trying to take the club forward."
The Money
When looking at a job offer, often the most tempting, and first thing people do is to go for the money. This is not always the right approach. Increased salary may mean increased responsibilities, increased hours and decreased personal time. Often people learn that the salary is only a small part of happiness at work. When looking at the financial offer, consider what salary you could comfortably live with, as well as the amount that would make a job offer irresistible. But do think more about potential of the whole package and less about the numbers.
A word from David
"The job was always going to be hard. Is it harder than I thought it would be? Yeah, I would say so."
The Benefits
Having a great benefits package is important for more than the obvious reasons. If a company offers its employees perks like pension, private health care, good holidays etc., it can mean they’re competitive, doing well financially and look after staff welfare. If a place doesn’t offer a benefits package, it might just be because they’re small, but it could also imply that they’re struggling as a company. Even if benefits aren’t overly important to you, working for a company without them is something to carefully consider.
David’s words of wisdom on the haves and have not’s.
"I think there's a bigger job to be done, but you have to start somewhere. If you asked me what I needed most, I would have said a central midfielder, I could do with a left-back, but sometimes you don't always get the pieces of the jigsaw at the time. This is what I've been trying to allude to. I wasn't sure those pieces of the jigsaw would fall for us in this window. I hoped something would come up in this window that we wanted, and thankfully we got it."
Your Gut Instinct
Finally, after you’ve weighed the important factors, take time to listen to what your gut is telling you. People often say when they’re buying a house, “what’s for you won’t go past you”. Same advice here: if you walk out of an interview and everything feels right (or wrong), pay attention to that feeling.
A last word from David
"I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn't something that comes around very often and I'm really looking forward to taking up the post next season".
So there it is. If by considering all the pros, cons, factors and pitfalls the answer is yes you will accept the role, then great you have a fantastic new job with a great company. However, be mindful of David and don’t get swept away in the excitement without doing your own due diligence.


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